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Thread: Brinkmann Balance vs. Spiral Groove SG1 vs. TW Acustic Black Night

  1. #1
    Addicted to Best! Hyperion's Avatar
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    Brinkmann Balance vs. Spiral Groove SG1 vs. TW Acustic Black Night

    Hi,

    I'm seriously considering one of these turntables at the moment, and I would truly appreciate any opinions regarding them related to sonics, reliability, flexibility, ease of use & maintenance etc.

    The candidates are:

    - Brinkmann Balance anniversary (turntable, 10.5 tonearm, Ti-cartridge, tube power supply, HRS-platform)

    - Spiral Groove SG1 + Centroid tonearm

    - TW Acustic Black Night + Raven 10.5 tonearm

    The price for these setups (used or new) are quite similar when adding a cartridge within the 4-5000$ price range to either the Spiral Groove or TW Acustic tables. But, I can get the Black Knight + Raven 10.5 tonearm new at about the same price as the others used.

    I'm using the Brinkmann Bardo today, which I believe is a very neutral and reliable table. But, to some degree it doesn't manage to engage me enough emotionally being rather correct and slightly sharp around the edges. What I'm looking for in an upgrade is first and foremost a more generous and musical presentation (warmth, scale, texture, body, flow) - more music and less hifi if you wish.

    My taste in music is varied, but I tend to optimize my system based on what I listen to the most (sing- and songwriters), which means that the handling of voices, acoustical instruments and piano are critical.

    So far, my gut feeling tells me that the TW Acoustics Black Night might be the answer partnered with the right cartridge.

    My phono is the Zanden 1200 MKIII. The rest of the system consists of an Aesthetix Callisto Eclipse (preamp), Karan KA M2000 (monos) and Sonus Faber Futura (speakers). Cabling is Nordost Valhalla (power) + Kubala Sosna Elation (interconnects).

    Any inputs are most welcome!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
    Hi,

    I'm seriously considering one of these turntables at the moment, and I would truly appreciate any opinions regarding them related to sonics, reliability, flexibility, ease of use & maintenance etc.

    The candidates are:

    - Brinkmann Balance anniversary (turntable, 10.5 tonearm, Ti-cartridge, tube power supply, HRS-platform)

    - Spiral Groove SG1 + Centroid tonearm

    - TW Acustic Black Night + Raven 10.5 tonearm

    The price for these setups (used or new) are quite similar when adding a cartridge within the 4-5000$ price range to either the Spiral Groove or TW Acustic tables. But, I can get the Black Knight + Raven 10.5 tonearm new at about the same price as the others used.

    I'm using the Brinkmann Bardo today, which I believe is a very neutral and reliable table. But, to some degree it doesn't manage to engage me enough emotionally being rather correct and slightly sharp around the edges. What I'm looking for in an upgrade is first and foremost a more generous and musical presentation (warmth, scale, texture, body, flow) - more music and less hifi if you wish.

    My taste in music is varied, but I tend to optimize my system based on what I listen to the most (sing- and songwriters), which means that the handling of voices, acoustical instruments and piano are critical.

    So far, my gut feeling tells me that the TW Acoustics Black Night might be the answer partnered with the right cartridge.

    My phono is the Zanden 1200 MKIII. The rest of the system consists of an Aesthetix Callisto Eclipse (preamp), Karan KA M2000 (monos) and Sonus Faber Futura (speakers). Cabling is Nordost Valhalla (power) + Kubala Sosna Elation (interconnects).

    Any inputs are most welcome!
    Have you tried any other phono stages? Zanden is pretty but really doesn't excite me either.

  3. #3
    Addicted to Best! Hyperion's Avatar
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    Not in this system and setup, no. And yes, you might have a point (=one more thing to consider). I've considered the Aesthetix IO earlier as the natural partner to my Callisto preamp, but as I have enough boxes and tubes in my system allready, I've put it all on hold.

    Quote Originally Posted by MylesBAstor View Post
    Have you tried any other phono stages? Zanden is pretty but really doesn't excite me either.

  4. #4
    Always tricky because no two people have identical taste; I can't help noticing that all three choices lack any attempt at a suspension, and thus cannot deal properly with issues of isolation I've compared several none suspended decks, by themselves and then on a vibraplane. It was clear that all suffered from low-level feedback....hardly surprising because a bit of mass cannot supress vibration. So, whichever deck you choose, I hope you set aside serious money to provide the isolation needed.
    Me, I would be looking at decks designed from the start with good isolation. Which is rather more than big lumps of machined metal.

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    Addicted to Best! Hyperion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paskinn View Post
    Always tricky because no two people have identical taste; I can't help noticing that all three choices lack any attempt at a suspension, and thus cannot deal properly with issues of isolation I've compared several none suspended decks, by themselves and then on a vibraplane. It was clear that all suffered from low-level feedback....hardly surprising because a bit of mass cannot supress vibration. So, whichever deck you choose, I hope you set aside serious money to provide the isolation needed.
    Me, I would be looking at decks designed from the start with good isolation. Which is rather more than big lumps of machined metal.
    Thanks for the feedback. I have a Brinkmann Balance setup on the way including a dedicated HRS-platform.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. I have a Brinkmann Balance setup on the way including a dedicated HRS-platform.
    I would imagine that will be excellent; I think it wise with this type of design to include in the budget the cost of world-class isolation. Should sound fabulous.

  7. #7
    Addicted to Best! PeterA's Avatar
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    I heard the Brinkmann Balance at a show in NYC last year. The dealer was demonstrating both the Balance and the Bardo on active Vibraplanes. They used to prefer custom HRS platforms, but apparently switched and are selling most of their tables with Vibraplanes now. The sound was excellent. I agree with paskinn that proper isolation is essential to getting the most out of an unsuspended turntable.

    I use a Vibraplane under my suspended SME table and put the motor controller on it also. It was a nice improvement. The Brinkmann tables are excellent.
    My system link on WBF: http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...-Sublime-Sound
    Analog: SME 30/12, SME V-12, My Sonic Labs Signature Gold, AirTight Supreme, VDH Colibri Platinum, MINT LP protractor
    Electronics: Pass Labs XA160.5 amp, XP-22 preamp, XP-25 phono, Cables: Transparent REF XL MM2,
    Speakers: Magico Q3, Magico Mini II, Essentials: Jim Smith RoomPlay, 3 Vibraplanes, Dedicated circuits

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    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] dcc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. I have a Brinkmann Balance setup on the way including a dedicated HRS-platform.
    Congrats for the acquisition. I am still in the discovery phase of my Balance. All I can say is that it is an outstanding piece of analog audio. I hope to write a detailed report within two to three weeks.

  9. #9
    Member Sponsor Senior Member Barry's Avatar
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    Hyperion: How's the Brinkmann Balance sounding and did you get the "more generous and and musical presentation" you were looking for? Any insights into the HRS platform and RoNt tube power supply and their contribution to overall sound? I'm considering a new turntable and this is on my list. Thanks!

  10. #10
    Addicted to Best! Hyperion's Avatar
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    Hi there,

    It's wonderful to see this thread coming to live again

    Fact is that I'm deep into the high-end business these days... www.perfect-sense.se

    I've chosen to carry AMG, Vertere, Torqueo and Gold Note on the turntable side, and couldn't be happier. They're all different, fulfilling different needs and wishes at several price points.

    / Marcus
    PERFECT SENSE
    www.perfect-sense.se

    Showroom in Stockholm, Sweden | info@perfect-sense.se | +46 8 518 368 00 | Follow us on Facebook


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